You’re familiar with the registry concept where people create a list of specific gift ideas for a wedding or baby shower. Companies like Target have dominated this space to the tune of $19 billion. 91% of these registries are online and couples have an average of 2.7 wedding registries. A recent NY Times article quoted a manager from Target.com stating that 30% of Target’s online business is driven by registries. Now companies are creating custom registries where people can register for services instead of products.
Since the average age of a bride and groom are now, 29 and 31, respectively, couples are starting to register with wedding vendors to help with the costs of a wedding.
How Big Companies use Registries
Williams-Sonoma was once just a small cooking supply store in Napa, California. They expanded into a couple of other stores across the country, with marginal success. However, the business exploded with growth once they added registries. Why do you think their business exploded once they added registries? Two reasons. One, registries let more people afford their high-priced cookware. Of-course newly married couples would have a hard time paying for premium cookware. However, by registering for this premium cookware, they would get these luxury items as gifts. Friends and family could easily go in together to purchase these higher priced items. The second primary reason for having a registry is more people exposed to your brand. Having a registry meant more people walking into Williams-Sonoma stores, more people knowing what kind of products and the quality of products the company sold, more people going through their catalog and web-site, and finally more people talking about Williams-Sonoma. The best part of the wedding registry, is that Williams-Sonoma didn’t have to advertise to get these sales. The bride and groom were doing the marketing for Williams-Sonoma, when they told all of their friends and family they were registered with Williams-Sonoma.
How a custom Photography Registry Works
A custom registry works just like a registry at Target or any other big brand like Williams-Sonoma. However, instead of Target’s products, it’s Collins Photography Registry. Charlie Collins uploads all of his products and services. When he books a bride, he emails a bride and groom a link so they can go through all of the products and services that Mr. Collins has made available to them. They choose the products and services they want on their registry. See the picture below for what this registry will actually look like.
Importantly, having a registry changes the conversation with a client. Do you receive emails, to the effect: “I love your photography, but I can’t afford to hire you?” If so, a registry helps with this, because with a registry the bride and groom receive the help of all of their friends and family. Additionally, for clients who can afford your services, it increases their buying power so they can afford more of your products and services.
The higher product sales and higher average wedding booked are only two benefits of having a registry. Another major benefit for a wedding photographer is the brand marketing. Everyone who has registered with you is actively promoting your brand, via email, facebook, wedding invitations, wedding showers, twitter, et cetera. Plus, everyone knows who you are at the wedding. As opposed to now, when you show up and work at a wedding nobody knows who you are and very few people remember your name.
If you choose to use Ciderr, for your business’s wedding registry, you can choose to use a percentage system. This way the registry will not show your prices and will not show how much the bride and groom have raised.
Another benefit of using Ciderr is getting paid faster. With Ciderr, the money you receive, from your registry is immediately available to you. As opposed to now, when you have to wait sometimes over a year. With Ciderr, your funds are held in a FDIC insured bank account.
How to get clients to use your registry
Rather than making up a conversation on how you can talk to your prospective clients about a registry. Let me give you an actual conversation my business partner (who is a wedding photographer) had with a prospective bride. My business partner explained how the average groom is 31 and the average bride is 29. At this age, most people have all of the household goods they need and are actually getting rid of these items, since they are consolidating households. This is how she responded:
“I’m 28 years old now but when we get married, I’ll be 29. And Jack is 31! Not only do we have everything but we have TWO of everything. I have pots and pans and he has pots and pans.” There was actually energy in her eyes as she continued, “To tell you the truth, we don’t know what to do with everything we do have. We have been having problems figuring out if we should even register anywhere. I think Ciderr is brilliant and I wish I had thought of it!”
Then she dropped the bomb, “Do you think it would be tacky if we ONLY registered with you?”
I looked down at my wedding samples.They were still sitting by my side… unopened. It was suddenly occurring to me that I was about to book a destination wedding using my new registry system alone. She obviously had seen my work online. She’d also seen a lot of other photographers amazing work online as well. The thing that stood out to her the most wasn’t my work (as much as I’d want it to). It was the fact that she could register with me and have her friends and family help pay for me.
The thing that got me really excited is the statistical data that I didn’t tell her about. $19 billion dollars are spent on wedding registries every year. The AVERAGE wedding, 200 people buy gifts from the bride and groom’s registry. The average gift is between $70 to $100. It doesn’t take much time to figure out how much the wedding could be worth for me since she’s ONLY registering with me. I’m not competing with Williams Sonoma.
Ideas for clients to promote an online registry
The best part of an online registry is how easy it is for guest to purchase items and how easy it is for brides and grooms to promote this registry. A friend of mine is planning his wedding in Italy. He didn’t want his family to be burdened with the costs of travelling to Italy, so the wedding will be just himself and his bride. Therefore, they are promoting their registry to everyone on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, Wedding Invitations and their Wedding Site. How you promote your registry is highly personalized in how comfortable the bride and groom are promoting the registry.
What all this means for you and your business
In summary, having a registry for your photography business means two things: 1) more people are able to afford your products and services, which obviously leads to higher sales for you and 2) more brand exposure for your business. When you show up to a wedding now, everyone knows who are and everyone already knows the quality of your work. The best part is the bride and groom are doing your marketing for you, so you don’t have to invest in expensive advertising.